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Mangano Pitches Sewage Privatization Plan in Wantagh

The county also currently operates the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway and Glen Cove Sewage Plant.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano made the case for his Wednesday night during an informational meeting at the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh.

Mangano touted his plan to eliminate $750 million, or 25 percent, of the county's $3 billion debt before a packed audience of around 100 people Wednesday night six days after Harrington Park, N.J. -based United Water was selected as a potential operator for the county’s sewage treatment system for at least 20 years.

In addition to Cedar Creek, the county also currently operates the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway and Glen Cove Sewage Plant.

Mangano emphasized that the plan, which still needs to be approved by the Nassau County Legislature, will help stabilize the county’s Sewer Authority, which is set to face bankruptcy in 2014, by saving $22 million annually. He said without the public-private partnership, the county would need to invest $300-$400 million into the plants for the next three years.

If approved as operator, United Water would invest at least $400 million in capital improvements during the next decade.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Mangano said during his presentation Wednesday evening in Wantagh.

Gary Albertson, vice president of United Water, also attended Wednesday’s hearing and explained that under the public-private partnership, the county will have control of sewage rates based on inflation. United Water has had public-private partnership agreements with sewage and water systems in Indianapolis and Los Angeles.

The staff at the sewage plants will have the option to work with United Water or take another position with the county if Mangano’s plan is green lighted. Mangano said he is planning to meet with plant workers sometime in the next week to get their input.

Cedar Creek Oversight Committee Co-chairman Phil Franco expressed frustration after Wednesday’s hearing that the county has not explored manning the plant at its previous staffing levels from a couple decades ago when the sewage treatment facility in Wantagh received awards for being among the best in the country.

Franco said the plant used to have five maintenance supervisors compared to just one today and that the county could also save significant money by using less contractors for projects.

“My concern is that they haven’t truly looked at the option of running the plant the way it used to run when it was a Blue Ribbon plant,” said Franco, who is president of the Seaford Harbor Civic Association and last month was as a regional director for the newly formed Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations.

Long Beach resident Scott Bochner from Surfrider Foundation said he has concerns about whether Mangano’s plan is financially viable but is keeping an open mind.

“On the environmental end I’m OK with looking at other people to run [the sewage treatment system] but fiscally I don’t think it’s a good idea yet,” said Bochner, who added he is meeting with Mangano next week to go over the proposal further.

The county is scheduled to hold additional information hearings on the public-private partnership proposal on May 16 at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and on May 17 at the  in Mineola. 

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johnguthrieyates May 14, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Have you ever wondered if you really do live in Nassau County ,,, or by some chance got wisked away with Dorothy and ToTo to the land of Oz. Our legislators coming up "short' on their ability to responsibly and effectively do their part to run this county ... they are so sadly clueless, unprepared and really not qualified. And then there is the Emerald City, "Mineola". Not Largeola, Mineola. That should tell you something right away and the continuous parade of "wizards" those elite few who talk their way to behind the curtain, who we find out are simply regular people who basically either don't know what to do or how to do it. To compound this, the voices we hear are from a village idiot and one of the worst impressions of W.C. Fields i've seen in a long time. The Sewage Plants - it only took one person with a little thoughtful planning to expose this mess. First, with the Deptt of labor and when the shit hit the fan "literally" the DEC was asked to do their part. But that same person also advised the County to do the right thing, to get to the true root cause of this failure and they didn't. The failures occurred at the deputy commissioner, commissioner, ofiice of budget and management, the lack of oversite from the legislature and yes, the County Executive office. We should be outsourcing or privatizing them. Tom Souzzi is responible for getting us into this mess and Ed Mangano simply doesn't know how to get us out ... the right way
johnguthrieyates May 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
The money here is too big, the facilities are too pivital and the issue is too important to be left up to a handful of unqualified, ilinformed and incapable group of elected officials to grapple with. The only group that will truly benefit from this current proposed deal is the one that gets the contract. Nassau residents should be insisting on having this put forth as a referendum and it should be properly dicided on by the residents of Nassau only in that manner. Do not listen to that man ... behind the curtain.
johnguthrieyates May 14, 2012 at 01:11 AM
The problems and choosing the "right" course of action truly transends the Democrat v Republican mentality. Fact - Conditions at these facilities were already brought to the attention of the County in 2005. Nobody did a thing.The "village idiot" even went further by stating it wasn't true and not to worry, there were redundant systems. The initial arrangements made that finally exposed the problems were made in November of 2009. Tom Suozzi was County Exec. Ed Mangano had no idea about this until the Dept. of Labor hit the ground. Fact - With the failures with the County's sewage systems, Tom Suozzi thought it was in the best interests of the residents of Nassau to buy the City of Glen Cove's sewage plant? A plant that was privatized. And what was Tom Suozzi before County Exec ? Mayor of Glen Cove. Where did he get that money ? Nobody read the 2008 Malcom Pernie report ? NIFA claims they warned "the County" in 2009 about possible insolvency? Privatization is not the way to go. The residents will have absolutely no control. Ed Mangano has to stop hiring people with virtually no exposure let alone experience and simply start putting people in place that simply know their job. And this whole issue must be put to a referendum.

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